Dr. Simone Lackner grew up in a family-run Viennese cafe, where she was exposed to people with diverse cultures, attitudes and belief systems. To understand the nature of being human, she explored the capacity of emotions as an actress. Her thirst for (self-) knowledge was not satisfied. She built her bridge from art to science. As a first generation and female academic, Simone has succeeded to establish herself as a multidisciplinary scientist, with a degree in Molecular Biology, a Ph.D. in Systems Neuroscience and postdoctoral training in Complexity and Computational Social Science. She worked in eleven different institutes, across five different countries (Austria, Singapore, USA, Japan, Portugal), where she planned, implemented and managed a variety of complex technology- and data-driven interdisciplinary research projects. As a ReMO Ambassador for Wellbeing in Academia and the founder of Soapbox Science Lisbon, Dr. Simone Lackner is an empathic advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and wellbeing in academia and beyond.
I want to innovate and mediate a safe public space, for individuals within groups, to experiment with a combination of formal and non-formal educational tools, to foster human connection and belonging through (self-) knowledge. I want this because I am extremely concerned about the collision of our digital revolution with anti-science and post-truth movements and how this impacts human connection. We are bombarded with information that is playing with our emotions, wellbeing and understanding of reality. Our individual psychology and group dynamics are being impacted and I fear that self-awareness, empathy and human dignity get lost. I strongly believe that we need to invest in new multidisciplinary and holistic educational approaches to spark curiosity and provoke peaceful public discourse so we can foster human connection. I can do this because for more than 15 years I have been working in different countries, cultures, science and art disciplines. As a passionate public speaker and organizer of various public outreach and science communication events, I have vast experience in cultural-sensitive and interpersonal communication. I recognized that I am able to inspire people with my sparking curiosity and I enjoy acting as an assertive diplomat and cultural mediator in science, art, policy and society.